Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 4/8/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: The Infinity Entity, Archie, and Rachel Rising

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / HTML5 therapist Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). I am running dreadfully behind, as usual, and Blogger’s HTML5 switch is doing all kinds of funky formatting to the blog that requires tons of fixing. <sigh> Anyhow, while I sob in my car on my commute to work and as Tulip and Reverse Obie read through some coding books to figure out easier ways of doing the blog, we can take solace in the fact that Captain America 3 will soon be upon us, and that we have a big honkin’ Neal Adams Batman Omnibus waiting for us to read. Anyhow, go queue up some Daredevil on Netflix, order up some tacos, be sure to stay healthy, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Infinity Entity #4
The Infinity Entity #4 - Written by Jim Starlin, illustrated by Alan Davis, inked by Mark Farmer, colored by Wil Quintana, lettered VC’s Joe Sabino, published Marvel Comics. Adam Warlock finally discovers the reason for his missing memories, but his problems are only beginning as a new player makes their presence known.

Before I get to what I love about this issue and the four-issue mini as a whole, I have to return to a gripe I have had in the past concerning spoiling major reveals on the cover of the very issue that contains the major plot twist. Remember when DC had their monumentally annoying “WTF” month of twist-killing spoils on their covers? Well, this isn’t as bad that, but it’s pretty darn close. I guess part of this is my fault, as I ended up getting a variant cover in my pull (remember my love of marketing gimmicks?) and didn’t notice such until I got home. Basically, the secret orchestrator of the events in this series, Adam Warlock’s veiled manipulator, is clearly shown tormenting Warlock on the cover of this particular variant (I put the regular cover up top to avoid spoiling things for you). Anyhow, instead of reading the first five pages and wondering who the heck this Bultar guy is, as the creators slowly pull back the curtain, I instead take a glance at the cover and go, oh, of course, that must be who that yellow fella is. Starlin and Davis are masters at their craft and still manage to add excitement to the moment, but there is no denying that the heft of what they have been building to is diminished. Meh! Meh, I tell you. *Dear Big Two, stop doing this, just stop it. Do what you used to do back in the day: silhouette out the big reveal on the cover so people can experience the reveal organically within the story as the creators intended. Your marketing department or whoever is wrong about spoiling on the cover.


Oh yeah, I liked this issue quite a bit. We finally learn what happened to Warlock, why his memories were jumbled, and who was messing around behind the scenes. That said, for the final issue of the mini, there’s little action this issue, and quite a bit of talking. Tons of talking, actually, but that’s definitely fine when it comes to Starlin’s cosmic work; it wouldn’t be a Starlin book without complex mysteries and mind-bending intrigue. Davis’s art is of course fantastic, exhibiting his mastery of drama and story telling while giving him a couple moments to get weird and go galactic. The full-page spread of Warlock and Bultar’s confrontation is epic, something I wish would be made into a poster to hang on my wall and possibly hit with the ol’ black light to make things extra…cosmicy.

As I’ve been saying since my look at the first issue of this series (here), this four-issue mini-series is probably not the best jumping on point for those wanting to dip their tippytoes in pure Starlin cosmic goodness. No, you should go back a bit and familiarize yourself with the characters and the rich history first. Trust me. It’s well worth your time. If, like this Donist, you read all of the material I mentioned in my review of the first issue, and you were unsure whether or not you have to read The Infinity Entity before plunging into Thanos: The Infinity Finale, then to be honest I have to say it is not necessary. However, if you’re a fan of Starlin and these characters, this mini is everything you’ve grown to love over the years, and this mini will have you pulsing with cosmic energy to see how it all concludes. I, for one, cannot wait! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Archie #7

Archie #7 - Written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Veronica Fish, colored by Andre Szymanowicz with Jen Vaughn, lettered by Jack Morelli, published by Archie Comic Publications, Inc. Reggie’s not only after Veronica, he’s also trying to get in on her father’s good side. Archie won’t stand for it. In order to save Mr. Lodge from the evils of Reggie, Archie and his pal Jughead will have to seek help from the one person who knows all and sees all…

Archie continues to be a heck of a lot of fun as Waid and Fish bring their modern touch to the Riverdale gang, while remaining true to both the characters and the Archieverse we have adored for many decades. If it weren’t for the occasional cell phone, computer, or car you could easily question what year the story actually takes place. The creators give the story a charming sense of timelessness as we have hijinx, young love and young heartbreak, drama, comedy, hamburgers, and all around goofiness that is sure to leave you smiling. But you should be aware of something when reading this issue of Archie: you will probably be chomping at the bit for the next issue in an desperate attempt to learn the truth behind Reggie’s devastating secret.

The cool thing about this all-new Archie is that you can actually jump on at any point in these first seven issues and be able to follow and enjoy the story. A brief “Previously…” paragraph (and possibly a faint inkling of who the main characters are) is all you really need to get sucked into the drama and — dare I say — fun of this wonderful series. But why jump in here? Doing so means you will miss the “Lipstick Incident” issues that deal with Archie and Betty’s breakup, and Jughead’s attempt to get them back together in the wake of Veronica’s arrival in Riverdale. You will also miss out on a bunch of laughs as well as some heartfelt moments to which we can all relate. So, first get the recently released trade (with fantastic Fiona Staples art on the first three issues), and then pick up this issue and everything that follows as you will probably become as attached to the Riverdale gang as I am. With most comic book worlds so heavily immersed in the dark, the gritty, and heroes fighting heroes, the vibrant, lively, and enjoyable Archie is a welcome beam of light to be found in a local comic shop mired in darkness. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #41

Rachel Rising #41 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. As the series draws to a close, there are many loose ends that need to be tied up. One of those loose ends is Malus.

I only recently found out that the amazing and spine-tingling Rachel Rising is actually ending with issue 42. I guess the announcement was made a month or two ago, and I somehow missed it as I’ve been less interested in social media of any flavor as of late. So when I actually heard the news — probably from my favorite comic book podcast 11 O’Clock Comics — it was already rather late in the game at issue 40. Before learning of the series end date, it actually felt like things were beginning to wind down, but I was thinking we had an additional two or three arcs to go judging by the pacing of the story; I guess I was wrong.

Longtime Denizens know I’ve been a fan of Rachel Rising since the first issue, and it is my favorite horror title on the stands, even though the drop to 18 pages of material per issue had caused me to raise an eyebrow. This issue is also 18 pages long and one of the main conflicts of the story, one that has been building for at least 30 issues, is quickly found and…corrected. Easy peasy. All the discussions on how to handle the situation over the course of the series are tossed aside for a simple solution that came much sooner that I would have liked.

This leaves one more issue to wrap up the main plot of the series: who killed Rachel, and how do you right the wrong. I’m actually not sure how it will be done. Not only do we have the end to Rachel’s journey, we have the murderous Lilith, Zoe, Aunt Johnny, Earl, and Jet to check in on and wrap up as well. I don’t see how it can be done in 18 pages, but we’re talking about the creator who gave us Strangers in Paradise and Echo, so I’m sure this tremendous series will get a satisfying ending despite the accelerated pacing. My guess as to why the series is ending so soon is that the numbers were down, or too many people switched to trades, making continuing on the series no longer economically feasible, which is a bummer. I also haven’t heard any recent news of the Rachel Rising television show, which also likely lead to an accelerated ending.

Although the story is wrapping up sooner than I would like, it has been one heck of great ride. Gorgeous art, an engaging mystery, and characters who I love so much they’re practically family to me now, Rachel Rising has been a joy to read. It has been scary and unnerving, humorous and touching, but most of all compelling. Despite not wanting the series to end, I HAVE to see what happens in the next final issue. If you have not been reading this great comic, you can easily catch up with what will be seven trades, or the soon(ish) to be released Omnibus edition. RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Out of Time! - As always, I’m running late, thanks to a ton of formatting issues that I need to uncover the cause (why is my text shrinking midway through the post?!?).

Argh! Gotta go. Later!


1 comment:

  1. I need to catch up on Rachel Rising. Sorry to hear it is ending